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From One Cuckoo Nest to the Next

Movement by Gray Cook
Laree's new publication, Movement, by Gray Cook
Available August 2010

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Normalcy has returned to the Draper household. Laree’s latest book publishing mission is complete and the 400-some page manuscript is off to the printer after several months of 12-hour days on the phone and at the keyboard, coordinating and finessing one author and five contributors (four of whom are doctors), and amassing, compiling and editing their complex of written material... including photos from a variety of angles, color flowcharts, system sequences, front and back covers, appendices and index. 

Pizza boxes, hotdog wrappers and Big Gulp containers are strewn about the work area with a narrow pathway to the bathroom. It’s been fun. I taped the whole thing and will produce my first film for TV, a sort of mystery-comedy-drama-horror documentary. My favorite scene shows Laree pounding her head against the keyboard while gnawing on her cell phone with her incisors. Action- packed, raw emotion, provocative.

The disturbance to Team Draper (I’m the cheerleader) is nothing compared to the disturbance the book, Movement by Gray Cook, will cause among the world of coaches, physical therapists and enduring athletes and other serious manipulators of the body. The material presented by Gray and his associates is a unique and comprehensive system for measuring, correcting and improving physical performance, and preventing and repairing injury.

“Movement” is a paved road that until recently was a rugged trail cut by the students and practitioners of modern physical therapy. Stand up and shout, technicians and healers and afflicted subjects: Sensible, superior and systematic help is on the way.

Yeah, right... take it from me, el experto grande. I’m a dabbling bodybuilder-strongman (ha) in the racket of constructing muscle and might at whatever cost. Bomb it, blast it, forced reps, pump ‘n burn, drop-sets, negatives, maximum exertion to absolute failure. These are the principles we apply, live and die by. Shredded and ripped is what we seek.
More on “Movement” and its creative author, Gray Cook, and his band of inspired associates right here, right now: Functional Movement Systems.

We have sunshine, we have blue skies, we have hot, we have summer still before us. Stop, look and listen. Breathe deeply, open your arms wide, reach out and embrace. This is it, bombos, the special moment in our life called now. Though it cannot be captured, the moment is glorified by grasping it and living it well.

I’m going to the gym momentarily to perform a workout to match the tone of my audience and co-performers--that would be me and my complement of dysfunctional personalities. Did I mention it’s hot? So much for heavy squats, deadlifts and Turkish get-ups on this fair Sunday in my 68th June. Poking fun at the iron and teasing the steel will be sufficient... perhaps a little nudging of metal ’n might for good measure.

I’ll reiterate and define my actions, thoughts and feelings after I mobilize and exert my persistent mind, tortured body and enduring spirit. The maturing trio is most recently a mystery to me. Enter gym, the land of the unknown.

Why didn’t I simply say, “I’ll tell you what I did when I’m done”?

Be back soon -->>>

The gym was deserted at 3 PM. The people were either jammed at the beach or packed on the freeways doing what they do on dazzling and balmy weekends. Sand, surf and suds -- snail-speeds, switching lanes and swearing.

The overhead fluorescents were off and the oscillating wall fans were on. I felt hot and cool at once. Jason, a 20-something EMT, soon appeared amid the iron clutter wearing a big grin, high hopes and a white T-shirt. Who was I to dash his bright and cheerful expectations?

“Hi, Jason... great day for a workout.” He couldn’t agree more.

For the first 10 minutes -- between warm-up sets -- I did a straight-talk mini-seminar with the attentive audience of one: Yes, bench presses work, but they’re not the grand musclebuilder we’re conditioned to believe. Worship them, go too heavy, strain too much for that last rep getting it any way you can and you can expect shoulder damage in the not-too-distant future. Treat the bench as a decent exercise to be rotated in and out of your routines; respect it and don’t let it dominate your training. Focus on the individual reps, the action, the muscle engagement, taking them to 80-percent maximum output, 90 occasionally and never 100 percent. A word to the wise (have you ever met a wise 20-some bodybuilder?), barbell inclines are worse, especially if you have long arms. Not everyone is structured suitably to perform inclines successfully. Try them, test them. Always warm up and access your range of motion with care.

The absolute best movements for shoulder health are overhead presses and horizontal rows. How do I know? Laree told me so!

Since you want to treat your shoulders right and develop muscle and power and a sense of fulfillment and joy, I recommend you direct your attention to dumbbells -- flat and varying ranges of incline, from 10 to 75 degrees. Of course, the lower the incline, the more the pecs are involved -- the steeper, the more the upper pec and the front deltoids are engaged. I prefer inclines cuz those muscle areas are more impressive, and more difficult to develop. Building lower pecs, by contrast, is seldom an outstanding problem. Their formation, if anything, becomes an outstanding problem as time goes on. Behold gravity. You might want to avoid declines for these reasons.

Close-grips are good for the tris, yet over-rated for the mid-chest -- too close is tough on the wrists and elbows. Wide-grips work the chest and front delts and tris -- too wide is tough on the shoulders and insertions. Bar to the pec-line is the safest groove, high on the pecs is okay irregularly for curiosity and interest, fun and stretch. As a musclebuilder, I flare my elbows out; as a cautious power builder, the grip narrows and the elbows come in. Find your groove, do full concentrated reps, don’t bounce and don’t go heavy. Think muscle-engagement, not end-of-rep and back-in-rack.

Are you courageous and venturesome, boy? Superset pressing with pulling.

I like dumbbell flys for constructing and molding the pecs, the straight-arm-across-the-ribcage being the action controlled by the pectoral muscles. But I favor cable-crossovers -- single-arm and dual-arm -- for more direct and managed movement. I alternate flys and crossovers, depending on muscle energy, muscle condition, muscle requirement and muscle urge (guesswork).

Gee, that lattermost instruction minus the specific exercises sums up my entire training philosophy and training approach. And it works. But, then, I’m mature and long invested, to put it delicately.

I’ll include stiffarm dumbbell pullovers weekly as an indirect player in my chest program. Great for supersetting with dumbbell presses. And don’t discount the value of dips for pec development, my young life-saving bud.

By this time Jason had stopped listening and I was fully prepared for some hardcore blasting. He texted someone, turned up the volume on his iPod and was off to do some heavy bench presses.

“Hey, Dave... how about a spot... I’m going for a one-rep-max if it kills me...”

“Sure, why not...”

Gotta love it... we press on like maniacs... The Bomber



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